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Space labs pave way for China's first space station

CHINA will launch two or three space labs in the following five years to lay the groundwork for the country's first space station.

Tiangong-1 - the country's first space lab, will blast off by the end of 2010 from a new seaside space center in south China's Hainan Province, reported the web portal of Hainan Province. Tiangong, which means a castle in the sky in Chinese, will lay the groundwork for China's own space station.

Following the launch of Tiangong-1, several spacecraft will be launched to dock with the space lab and build a work platform over two years, according to the report.

They will also serve as cargo spacecraft to refuel and supply food to crew working on the space station, according to Gu Yidong, Commander-in-Chief of China's Manned Space Engineering Program.

China plans to build a long-term manned space station by 2020.


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